Potted Herb Garden
(Image credit: AlexRaths)

Most herbs are easy to grow. Given the proper amount of sunlight and good soil conditions, your herb garden will be up and running in no time. In order to keep your herb garden healthy and flourishing, you'll need to provide it with a little tender loving care from time to time. Read on to learn how to care for your herb garden.

General Care for Your Herb Garden

Here are some general tips on caring for your herb garden.

Watering herbs

Your herb garden will need to be watered regularly. How much or how little you need to water will be determined by what types of herbs you plant and whether they have been planted into containers or directly into the ground. Container herbs need to be watered more often, as they tend to dry out faster. Of course, your garden will need more water when the weather is hot and dry. Keep an eye on your herbs for any signs of wilting. A wilting herb is crying for water and needs to be tended to immediately to prevent undue stress to the plant's delicate system.

Weeding herbs

Keeping your herb garden weed-free is an important part of its care and upkeep. Make it a habit to check for weeds once a week; the smaller they are when you find them, the easier they are to remove. When an herb garden gets smothered with weeds, it can't get the proper nutrients it needs from the soil for healthy growth. Your green herbs will then start to turn yellow and sickly. When there are too many weeds in your herb garden, your herbs also will be in danger of not getting enough water, as they will be in competition with the other unwelcome plants. When there are too many weeds, the herbs will wilt and become brown and dry. Another good reason to keep the weeds out of your herb garden is that having an abundance of weeds can and will attract more pests, which could be detrimental to your herbs.

Fertilizing herbs

Most herbs don't need too much fertilization, but a shot or two during the growing season will do them a world of good. A simple liquid fertilizer should be enough to keep them happy.

Pruning herbs

Keeping your herbs well pruned not only will keep them looking their best but also will stop them from going to seed, and may keep them producing much longer. Pruning should be done at least once a month. If you enjoy herbal flowers or want them to reseed themselves in the garden, keep a few of your chosen flowering herbs pruned while letting a couple of them go on to flower. They will eventually seed, guaranteeing that you will have enough herbs for daily use while allowing their natural reproduction cycle to occur for next year's garden.

Dividing herbs

Every year or two your perennial herbs will need to be divided to keep them healthy. You can divide herbs by removing them from the soil and splitting the plant, vertically, down the middle of its root system and then replanting the two new plants back into the ground. If you find that after splitting you have too many plants for your own garden, why not ask a neighbors if they'd like a few of your plants to start their own herb gardens?

Harvesting and/or Relocating herbs

As the growing season winds down and the frosty winds approach, you'll need to bring your most delicate herbs indoors and harvest the stems and leaves from the rest of them. When harvesting your perennial herbs, be careful not to cut them too low to the ground. Leave a couple of inches (5 cm.) of growth to die back on its own so that the plant will be able to renew itself next year. When faced with an abundance of harvested herbs, you'll need to prepare them by drying or freezing them for later use. By following these rules of general care for your herb garden, your garden will flourish and in turn thank you by rewarding you with the best possible herbs for all of your daily needs.